Can't Touch This! A Comparison of 46 CPU Coolers

Specific Cooling Performance - Swiftech Duo Still In The Lead

Specific cooling performance C/W is a gauge for the quality of a cooler.

Specific cooling performance denotes the quality of a cooler - the smaller the value is, the better the cooling effect is. In general, specific cooling performance scores are related to the temperature readings. The winner in previous tests, the Swiftech MC462, attains a C/W score of 0.16, putting it once again squarely at the top of the pack. This positions it a considerable distance ahead of its brother, the Swiftech MC370-0A, which was la crème de la crème in the first group tested. Of the newcomer coolers, the Blizzard Thunderbird has entered very high on the performance totem pole. Its C/W of 0.31 puts it on a par with the excellent Silverado from Noise Control. The Global Win CAK 38's cooling performance, a C/W of 0.33, is equally good. In general, we can say that

If specific cooling performance is somewhere between 0.35 and 0.4, this indicates a really decent cooler-fan system. Scores below 0.35 are very good; below 0.20, they're top-notch.

The upper echelon still includes the two Swiftech models, which placed first and second. The MC462 was designed for use with the new Pentium 4, which has to meet entirely new requirements for thermal behavior.

The scores of the last models in this chart put them entirely out of the question - the Smart Cooler is the new laggard with a C/W score of 0.69. If it comes to this, then it's hardly even worthwhile installing a cooler. All coolers with C/W scores above 0.57 are fully unsuitable for both overclocking and for AMD Athlon CPUs faster than 1000 MHz. At this point, we would like to mention that all scores were obtained using our reference configuration. Although using these coolers in another system could lead to slightly different results, these deviations shouldn't be significant.

  1. Cooler Trends - Complex Design & Precious Materials
  2. Cooler Trends - Complex Design & Precious Materials, Continued
  3. Theory: Ideal Cooling
  4. Cooler Master EP5-6151: Plain Jane Cooler For Undemanding Tastes
  5. Cooler Master DP5-6H51: Small Heat Sink - Large Fan
  6. Cooler Master DP5-6G11: Flatliner
  7. Blizzard Thunderbird: Shooting Star
  8. TRIG T40-6EA: Powerful Fence-Straddler
  9. TRIG T40-6EAC: XXL And Case Fan
  10. Global Win WBK 38: Behind Bars
  11. Global Win WBK 68: Wacky Little Brother
  12. Global Win CAK 38: Top Model With High Cooling Performance
  13. Elan Vital FSCUG9C: Ribbed Structure Made Of Sheet Steel
  14. Elan Vital FSCUG9C-6FC: Unsuccessful Thermal Trigger
  15. SPRING SPCT381 BAF-1B: Black And Quiet
  16. SPRING SPCT801 AAF-1B: Son Of Flatliner
  17. SPACEWALKER: A Nobody In The Crowd
  18. AVC Mega-Cool: Compact And Powerful
  19. Taisol CGK 744092: Unergonomic
  20. Smart Cooler FSM 1168T: Buyer Beware!
  21. Molex 371650008: Avant-garde Design
  22. Molex 371660002 U. 371610002: Little Brother
  23. Zalman CCC Project: Much Ado About Nothing
  24. Zalman CNPS2005 (Aluminum): Below Expectations
  25. Zalman CNPS3000 (Copper): Better Than Aluminum
  26. Zalman CNPS3100G (Gold): The Crowning Glory In Gold
  27. Zalman CNPS3100 (Cu-Au Alloy): Visual Blarney
  28. Zalman Coolers: Poor Manufacturing Quality
  29. Laboratory Tests Up Close & Personal - CPUs Maxed At 100%
  30. Cooling Temperature: Range From 30°C To 56°C
  31. Noise Level - Is That A Construction Site Or An Office?
  32. A Real Heavyweight - Swiftech's 789 Grams!
  33. Specific Cooling Performance - Swiftech Duo Still In The Lead
  34. Fan Speed - 2850 RPM To 6700 RPM
  35. Summary - A Comparison Of All 46 Coolers
  36. Conclusion - Just Say "No" To Cheap Generics
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